Friday, June 3, 2011

Anatomy of my Waldorf Style Dolls

There has been a little bit of hoopla in the doll making world about what a Waldorf doll looks like under the clothes. Apparently some are unhappy with the quality of the doll and feel they have been deceived by a pretty dress that hides a poorly made doll.

I personally think that no one would set out to make a poor quality doll and sell it for a high price to scam a potential customer . Hand made dolls, like all hand made items are in their own right a work of art. There is much joy and satisfaction to be had in the creative process. It is stimulating, productive and tends to feed itself with such good food that the creativity only expands and gets better and more creative.

I know when I look at my first dolls and then look at the dolls I make now, my doll making process has went leaps and bounds and turned several corners. I like those bends in the road when my creative process is changing and I can't quite see what is ahead.

I want to do a show and tell about my dolls. Making a doll is an interesting and captivating process. No two dolls are alike.

I start with the head.
I put the "skin" on the head and sew it shut down the back of the head. This is what the head looks like after the back has been sewn shut and the face has been put on the doll. The hair covers the seam line and embroidery floss.

I pull the top and the bottom of the head closed like this:

I like to sew the head to the body with firm, tiny stitches.

I do the same with the arm/shoulder seam.

When it comes to my dolls legs I hand stitch the seams. I like leg seams because without them it is difficult to get a doll to sit. I like a doll that can sit and be more limber.

And then the feet. The bottom part of the leg is bent up and sewn together. I like my doll feet to actually look like feet and it took me many dolls to figure out a good way to accomplish getting feet the way I wanted them to look.

Little Jenny Wren has been a huge source of inspiration to me when it comes to doll hair and dolls in general. For years she has been making beautiful curly doll hair. This hair is made curly by knitting the yarn and blocking it and then unraveling the yarn. It is beautiful.

Wende, has hair that has been knitted and unraveled.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and I believe it. At the time I started to make dolls, I was a slow, beginning knitter. Knitting doll hair took me a lot of time. It takes a lot of yarn to give a doll curly hair like this especially if long, curly hair is desired. So I played around and devised a way to make "corkscrew" type curls.





And while the next doll does not have curls I could hardly leave her out. She is the doll that started it all. The doll that I finally got my nerve up to start a little store and put her in it. The first doll that I sold. She tells the real story of her maker.

When it comes to my dolls, I like to make them and dress them as I like to see children dressed and made over. I like side parts and bows. I like simple cardigans and sweet dresses. I like rosy cheeks and freckles. I like red heads. I like color. I like black and white checker boards, cherries and polka dots. I like Mary Jane shoes. Notice her feet :) they do not "stand up" like my doll feet do now.

I've been looking at dolls for over 3 years now. I've gotten to where when I see a picture of a child with a doll I can usually guess the maker. Doll makers all have their own flair and style and for some reason their dolls while all are different, are identifiable. One day I hope my dolls will be known for their own flair and style as "Folky Dot Dolls."


  1. Great post! I am pleased to be an owner of a "Folky Dot Doll"

  2. The detail and love you put into your dolls in amazing!
    I dont see how anyone couldnt be pleased with one of your dolls!
    Have a great weekend:)

  3. Very nice. You make very sweet dolls. Yes, you do have company in the corkscrew hair department. Jenny of Little Jenny Wren has been making this type of hair for a very long time. It looks lovely. Well done!

  4. I also agree with you that nobody that wished to be a serious dollmaker will create a doll to deceive people. We are all in different stages of our dollmaking and we create to the best of our abilities the best dolls that we can create.
    I have seen your dolls around and they are very lovely. They are very sweet and classic.
    But I have to disagree with you, as the hair the way you do for your dolls, the "corkscrew" hairstyle, made by knitting the yarn and then unravelling it to get the waves, has been done for many, many years now by Jenny Marshall, aka Little Jenny Wren. I do believe you are acquainted with her work, as she is a very popular dollmaker and I've seen you comment on her flickr photostream.
    Keep up the good work and dont let other people's concepts of what a waldorf doll is impact what you want to create. Dollmaking is a path and one awesome way to be creative

  5. I believe my style of corkscrews are different froms Little Jenny Wrens. To do the type of curl I'm talking about I do not knit the hair.

    Maybe I have caused confusion without meaning too. I showed the picture of the first doll with hair that has been knitted and unraveled. In my humble opinion my corkscrew curls look different than the type of curl that knitting produces.

    I have long admired Jenny's work but I really don't recall seeing my type of corkscrew curls on her dolls. I'll have to ask her. :)

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  7. Now believe me -- your dolls are just as well made as those by anyone else! They are absolutely darling!! Some people ???

    You asked about the embroidery transfers; I found these online for free. This is one place: There are lots of printable patterns. These are not the ones I used; I'll have to do more searching, then I'll send it your way.

  8. I really enjoyed this post. Your corkscrew curls are very pretty. I loved seeing how your dolls have changed since the first one. Thank you for the mention.

  9. I am smitten with your dolls they are adorable and sweet. Love the hair and curls. My knitted dolls are very 'beginner stage for me' and I am anxious to try and make some curls. Thanks for your show and tell. We are always learning all the time.

  10. I love your doll feet. You said they are bent up and sewn together. I want to try to duplicate it as its a nice clean look I'd like to try. However, I cannot get the bend. Is the ankle stitch all the way through? Any assistance would be appreciated!!

    1. I put a ball of wool down in the bottom of the leg and then put a straight pin through the fabric to separate the foot from the leg. I then stuff the rest of the leg. When I'm ready to sew the foot, I remove the pin and turn the foot up so that the fabric from the foot, touches the fabric of the leg. I hold it tight and ladder stitch across. Sometimes, I will take my stuffing stick aka a chop stick and lay it in the crease of the foot/leg join to get a smoother look when folding the foot up to sew.
      I hope that helps! If not, there is a face book group called "dolly stitchers" that might be able to give you a better written description or direct you to a picture tutorial.

      Good luck and have fun!